Greg's Bumblebee Costume

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The following is Greg's tale of building a Transformer costume, Bumblebee, to be precise.

For a few years now, Greg, Scott and I have each been vying for top prize at Sacramento's Zone Ball Halloween costume contest. Greg won in 2007 and 2008 with his painstakingly detailed Predator costume.

More on the Predator costume: 2007 Halloween Costume Contest page 6 and on page 7.

In September, just days after checking up on Scott's progress on the tauntaun costume, Greg wrote.

He had bigger plans:

Unfortunately, I won't be able to make it to the Zone Ball this year anyway.  My plan was to do this year what I did last year - Zone Ball the weekend before Halloween, then Vegas for Halloween weekend.  I already booked the trip.  But they scheduled the Zone Ball for Halloween weekend this year, so I had to choose.

He was out! Driving 580 miles to Las Vegas for the big money competitions there.

It was a relief!



He also sent pictures of his latest project in process.

Hey Rob, Scott's Skywalker/tauntaun costume is going to be insane. Getting in and out of it looks like a challenge, and getting through doorways might be tough, but his main issue is going to be not falling down if drunk people bump him. Also being on stilts, that's my main concern too. I'm glad I'm not going to the zone ball this year... either or both of you guys could beat me! I'm sure you'll find a good place to hide the beer.

(Pictured here are the disk brakes on Greg's costume. Actually, these are the first set. He later swapped these bolts for a set which were threaded for greater realism.)

Attached are a few more progress photos of Bumblebee. It's not done yet, so I'll send some more photos when it is. My Bumblebee costume is about 8 feet tall. It is made out of a wooden skeleton bolted to a modified external frame back pack, foam board, vinyl laminate, lots of paint, and tons of hot glue. Each piece was made by hand, and then given a "battle-hardened" look.

The lights work and were designed to look like high-intensity headlights. The barrels on his cannons even light up, and the primary cannon spins, just like in the movie (pre-finished photos attached). The wings/doors were made using tinted Plexiglas. The rims are paper mache cylinders with cut out foam board inserts placed inside to create the spokes of the wheels. The tires are made of foam. The foam was placed around the rims, then I used a soldering iron to burn/etch the treads into the tires. That was a long, stinky process. The head was a challenge. His eyes are made of Christmas ornaments, party favors, and battery-powered Christmas lights which run to a switch hidden under his left antenna.

The entire thing is mounted on a bicycle helmet which sits on top of my head. In order to make it as realistic as possible, I decided to keep my head down inside his chest with only Bumblebee's head exposed. I can see through the front grill area of his chest.

His legs were the most challenging part. They are built off of modified, reinforced drywall stilts which add 15 inches to my height.

There are several cool aspects to these. Some of the body panels "float" so the stilts can move the way they were intended to. That way, I can walk naturally instead of clomping around. To get in and out of them, the medial parts actually open up with hinges, then close with magnets. Realizing I wouldn't be able to navigate stairs too well (much less walk) with huge feet out in front of me, the feet were created with a series of hinges so they bend and flex like ankles. The feet also come off the legs altogether, so I can take off the feet, walk up stairs, and then put them back on (or if I don't feel like doing that, I can just walk up stairs backwards.) I'm still not quite done with his left hand yet, but I've designed it so that his fingers and thumb! move.&n bsp; It is built off a wooden platform with a series of strap hinges, tension springs, and nylon twine that runs to my hand, which stays inside Bumblebee's arm. When I pull the strings, the fingers make a fist; when I let go, they open up.

I tried to think of every last detail, all the way down to an authentic-looking California license plate with current registration, ventilated disc brakes, and threaded lug bolts. I plan to add additional wires and tubing throughout to add detail.













Please continue reading page 2 of Greg's Bumblebee costume.

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